When Writ Appeal Partly Allowed And SB’s Order Modified, Contempt Plea For Disobedience Of Order Maintainable Only Before Division Bench: Madras HC

The Madras High Court, earlier on Wednesday ruled that once a Writ Petition has been partly allowed or an order has been passed modifying the order of the Single Judge, the latter mergers with the order passed in the Writ Appeal and declared that the Doctrine of Merger does not make distinction between orders. It also remarked that if such an order is violated or disobeyed, then a Contempt Petition can be maintained before the Division Bench and not before the Single Judge. This was observed in the case of All India Union Bank Officer v. Brajeshwar Sharma.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh presided over this matter initially and the Single Bench passed an order; the operative part is as follows:

“17. The learned Single Judge has failed to appreciate the peculiar circumstances which exist in this year namely, the merger of banks and the consequent fitment of officers from the banks which will be merging including the appellant bank. It would be impossible to conduct a fresh examination for these officers before 31.03.2020 which might have an effect of breaking down the entire merger process… We do not find any infirmity in the order of the learned Single Judge, but we however modify the order of the learned Single Judge to the effect that such of the members of the petitioner’s association who are entitled and who according to the bank belong to the specialist category and have been deprived of the chance to take examination may be permitted to take the examination and be considered for appointment for the vacancies arising on 01.04.2020 treating them to be eligible for promotion. The bank shall ensure that the order of the Court is complied with in letter and spirit without any further delay so as not to cause any disadvantage to the petitioner as against their counterparts. The order of the learned Single Judge is modified and accordingly, the Writ Appeal is partly allowed.”

Referring to the judgments by the Supreme Court, J. Venkatesh highlighted the following:

  • Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala , (2000) 6 SCC 359 page 370

Once the superior court has disposed of the lis before it either way — whether the decree or order under appeal is set aside or modified or simply confirmed, it is the decree or order of the superior court, tribunal or authority which is the final, binding and operative decree or order wherein merges the decree or order passed by the court, tribunal or the authority below.

  • Shanthi v. T.D. Vishwanathan, (2019) 11 SCC 419

When a higher forum entertains an appeal and passes an order on merit, the doctrine of merger would apply. The doctrine of merger is based on the principles of the propriety in the hierarchy of the justice delivery system. The doctrine of merger does not make a distinction between an order of reversal, modification or an order of confirmation passed by the appellate authority. The said doctrine postulates that there cannot be more than one operative decree governing the same subject-matter at a given point of time.

The Single Judge hence asserted that, “Once an order has been passed in the Writ Appeal and the order passed by the Single Judge is modified and the Writ Appeal is partly allowed, the order of the Single Judge merges with the order passed in the Writ Appeal. The doctrine of merger does not make a distinction between an order of reversal, modification or an order of confirmation.”

Ria Nair
“Creative approach coupled with patience, makes understanding intricate issues simpler.” I am Ms. Ria Nair and my aim is to help you perceive a complex idea in a better way and seek your answer/s. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Law [B.B.A. LL. B (Hons.)] from Amity University, Mumbai. Understanding laws that govern human relations in all fields, gaining knowledge about aspects that govern the Universe and keeping an open mind are of primary importance to me as a law student and a human being. I hope to learn with every new opportunity and contribute to make others’ lives simpler.